Opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of deliberately denying him livelihood through denying him trial two years after his arrest on charges of inciting public violence.
He was arrested along with freelance journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and MDC Alliance vice-chairperson Job Sikhala for allegedly calling for demonstrations on July 31, 2020. Ngarivhume is out on bail and as part of his bail conditions he surrendered his passport which he said had put his business in jeopardy.
“Nearly two years have since passed, but they have refused to bring me to trial because it suits the regime and its captured courts to hold me in judicial ‘perjury’. Since 2020, I have been summoned to the courts every two weeks. I am made to report to the police weekly. And I had to surrender my passport. The regime’s most deliberately debilitatingly act, however, has been to deny me a livelihood, putting unbearable strains on my family, especially my children’s education.
“As I manage a research institute that operates regionally and internationally, it is essential that I am able to travel. But since the state took possession of my passport two years ago as a condition of bail, I have been unable to work. Last month my research company was commissioned for a US$100 000 education research programme in Southern Africa.
“I was required to travel to Zambia to conduct an inception training workshop for the team responsible to implementing the project. Given that I have always attended court and reported faithfully to the police, my legal team approached the High Court seeking the temporary release of my passport so that I could travel to Zambia for just one week to carry out the training,” Ngarivhume said.
He adds “But rather than a sympathetic hearing over a spurious case that has been pending trial for two years, the state prosecutor opposed our application, and the High Court dismissed it, agreeing that I was a flight risk because my trial is still pending.”
Ngarivhume said he had occasionally received death threats and feels troubled and trapped.
“Death threats that came intermittently, now come regularly. Virtually every second day I receive a threat on my phone. When the state changed both the magistrate and prosecutors responsible for my case, I received a message that seemed to celebrate the fact that I was now in the hands of the state’s longest knives who will soon convict me and send me back to Chikurubi. One such text threatened me with unspeakable actions, which the CIO are planning against me and my close family,” said Ngarivhume
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